Declining enrollment's impact on Arizona Schools - AZEdNews
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Declining enrollment’s impact on Arizona Schools


See How Declining Enrollment Has Affected Your School District And Its Funding In These Interactive Maps And Charts. Infographics By AZEdNews

A 3.54% drop in enrollment in public district schools in the past year has led education advocates to look into where those students have gone and why as well as how that funding loss is impacting schools’ budgets.

“The loss of approximately 10% of our student population, combined with the 95% funding level for remote and hybrid learning, have had a significant, almost $5,000,000 impact upon our financial operations and overall picture this year,” said Dr. Manuel Valenzuela, superintendent of Sahuarita Unified School District.

“We are weathering this year’s storm largely through federal financial support. However, the uncertainty and magnitude of this budget situation create multiple contingencies and challenges for next year’s budget planning,” Dr. Valenzuela said.

Student enrollment in Arizona district schools dropped from 1,114,478 students in 2020 to 1,074,973 students in 2021, said Dr. Anabel Aportela, director of research for Arizona Association of School Business Officials and Arizona School Boards Associationwho created the data maps in this story from enrollment data submitted by Arizona public schools to the Arizona Dept. of Education.

“The enrollment loss is mostly concentrated in the elementary grades, with a small overall loss of enrollment in high school,” Dr. Aportela said.

“For those districts that were losing enrollment before the pandemic, the pandemic may have accelerated the decline,” Dr. Aportela said. “For others, it has stopped or reversed their growth.”

Interactive Graphic: Dr. Anabel Aportela’s analysis of enrollment data submitted to Arizona Dept. of Education: Arizona Public Schools Student Enrollment from FY2020 to FY2021

Interactive Map: State map of K-8 district enrollment changes:

Dr. Anabel Aportela’s analysis of enrollment data submitted to Arizona Dept. of Education

Interactive Map: High school district enrollment change map

Dr. Anabel Aportela’s analysis of enrollment data submitted to Arizona Dept. of Education